Guidance

Intellectual property after Brexit

Parts of UK intellectual property (IP) law will change when the UK leaves the EU.

This will affect your business if you:

  • currently own IP, such as copyright, patents, designs and trade marks
  • are involved in the secondary trading of IP-protected goods between the UK and EEA markets
  • operate or rely on cross-border services involving copyright-protected content in the UK and EU

What your business needs to do now

  1. Understand the changes and prepare for them now. The guidance IP and Brexit – the facts is available to help you.

  2. Be aware of the timings. There are some actions that you may need to take now in order to prepare for leaving the EU without a deal. IP and Brexit – the facts can help you to understand whether you need to take any immediate action depending on your individual circumstances.

  3. Stay updated. Some of these requirements may change depending on the terms upon which the UK leaves the EU. Revisit this page or sign up to email alerts on the signposted pages to stay up to date.

How this will affect your business if there’s a deal

The UK will continue to protect all existing registered European Union Trade Marks, Registered Community Designs, and Unregistered Community Designs after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK will continue to recognise database rights held by EEA nationals, businesses and residents.

Supplementary Protection Certificate applications that are pending at the point of exit will be determined in line with current EU regulation.

IP professionals will continue to be able to represent clients in pending cases before the EU Intellectual Property Office until their conclusion.

The European Patents system will not be affected when we leave the EU as this is governed by the (non-EU) European Patents Convention.

The intellectual property Title of the Withdrawal Agreement is covered in Articles 54 to 61.

How this will affect your business if there’s no deal

The UK will continue to protect all existing registered European Union Trade Marks, Registered Community Designs, and Unregistered Community Designs after we leave the EU. We will also continue to protect existing EU and EEA EFTA database rights.

The UK will preserve EU law on patents (notably in relation to Supplementary Protection Certificates), copyright and exhaustion of IP rights on the UK statute book.

While there will be no change for the importation of goods into the UK, there may however be restrictions on the parallel import of goods from the UK into the EEA. Businesses undertaking such activities may need to check with right holders to see if permission is needed.

The UK will make minor amendments and technical fixes in UK legislation in particular as regards the preserved EU law, to ensure we have a functioning UK statute book after we leave the EU.

What will happen after the UK leaves the EU

The UK will explore options on IP, including participation in the Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent system, and providing for more extensive cooperation on intellectual property than is offered under existing multilateral treaties.

The Political Declaration sets out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and UK.

Further information

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright. The IPO operates and maintains the intellectual property system in the UK to help people get the right type of protection for their creation or invention.

Trade marks and designs if there’s no deal

Patents if there’s no deal

Copyright if there’s no deal

Exhaustion of intellectual property rights if there’s no deal

Guidance on The Intellectual Property (Copyright and Related Rights) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.

Published 1 February 2019